Observer Variability in Head Circumference Measurement Using Routine Versus Non-Stretchable Tapes in Children
Introduction: Observer variability is known in taking head circumference. Stretchable tapes do not provide accurate results after being used repeatedly. The aim of this study was to compare the intra-observer and inter-observer variability in measuring head circumference (HC) or occipito-frontal circumference (OFC) by using routine stretchable and non-stretchable tapes.
Material and Methods: In this crosss-ectional study, all stable children in the age group of 1 month to 5 years attending the pediatric department of a tertiary care teaching hospital over six months period were included. The main outcome measures were: intra-observer & inter-observer variability in HC measurements by routinely used stretchable and non-stretchable tapes, and accuracy of readings of old stretchable tapes.
Results: A total of 301 children were included. There was good correlation in the measurements taken by two observers (inter-observer), and three different readings of the same observer (intra-observer), correlation coefficient being > 0.99. With stretchable tape, 26% subjects had both intra-observer and inter-observer variability of ≥ 0.5 cm, which was 9.9% and 15.9% with the use of non-stretchable tape, respectively. Non-stretchable tape compared to stretchable tape had significantly less intra-observer (p < 0.001) and inter-observer variability (p=0.038).
Conclusions: Observer variability was significantly less with the use of non-stretchable tapes compared to routinely used stretchable tapes. Old stretchable tapes used repeatedly over certain periods were not able to provide accurate readings.
Copyright (c) 2017 Pareshkumar Amrutlal Thakkar, Kinjal Yagnik, Niyati T Parmar, Rashmi Ranjan Das, Ukti P Thakkar
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